Wanuri Kahiu Set to Direct New Disney Musical

  • Director Wanuri Kahiu (right) seen on the set of her 2018 movie Rafiki
    Director Wanuri Kahiu (right) seen on the set of her 2018 movie Rafiki
  • Rafiki director Wanuri Kahiu on Thursday, July 30 confirmed reports that she was set to direct a new film for the streaming service Disney+.

    Wanuri Kahiu was chosen to direct a film adaptation of acclaimed Broadway musical 'Once on This Island' which itself is based on a 1985 novel by Rosa Guy, My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl.

    The project, co-ordinated by Disney's live-action division, also brings other heavyweights on board including Producer Marc Platt, who is behind several major Hollywood productions including La La Land and Wicked.

    The film will be written by Jocelyn Bioh, a Ghanaian-American writer, leading playwright and actor. Disney hopes that Once on This Island will prove a hit with viewers, particularly on Disney+ where Broadway musical Hamilton is among the most watched productions.

    File image of film director Wanuri Kahiu
    File image of film director Wanuri Kahiu

    Kahiu disclosed that she was looking forward to working on the project even as congratulatory messages poured in from a section of Kenyans.

    "I'm grateful to be directing the film adaptation of Once On This Island for Disney+ with scriptwriter Jocelyn Bioh (School Girls/ She Gotta Have It/ Russian Doll)!!!

    "A musical about true love, Gods and the magic of radical hope!" she excitedly announced.

    The acclaimed musical which has won several awards since it first ran in 1990 tells the story of a peasant girl who fell in love with an aristocrat.

    Set in the French Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, the island gods then wager a bet on what is more powerful between life and death.

    It also highlights the challenges that people from different social classes experience in relationships.

    Many Kenyans know Wanuri as the creator of Rafiki, the internationally acclaimed Lesbian love story film which was banned in the country.

    Despite scooping numerous awards abroad, Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ezekiel Mutua led a spirited campaign against the movie in Kenya claiming it's subject matter was not acceptable to local viewers.

    Other than Rafiki, Wanuri is also credited with directing From a Whisper and Pumzi.

    Rafiki producer Wanuri Kahiu
    Rafiki producer Wanuri Kahiu